Sissinghurst

Designed by Harold Nicholson and Vita Sackville-West, Sissinghurst is what most North Americans would interpret as the classic English garden.

Nowhere is better than Sissinghurst for experiencing the classic "English garden" trope of informal planting juxtaposed against a very formal structure. Aged brick walls and yew hedges clipped with military precision form the backgrounds for the tapestries of cottage garden planting featuring traditional herbaceous perennials and a remarkably varied collection of roses. Unlike more contemporary gardens, grasses here are not a dominant feature, instead acting as scattered individual specimens that are subservient to the surrounding perennials.

The garden plan deftly combines various themed garden rooms, pleached lime allee, hazel coppice, orchard, kitchen garden, cottage and moat in a seamless flowing design that feels like a naturally cohesive whole despite its vastly different component parts. Lovingly maintained by the National Trust, Sissinghurst is a testament to both the genius of its makers and the style they so elegantly captured.